What Birds Eat Flowers? (And How To Avoid It!)

Just like flowers, birds can be beautiful creatures that many of us enjoy watching in our gardens. Whereas most birds prefer to eat seeds and insects, they are largely herbivores and many birds will eat a variety of plants – including flowers!

Different types of birds will enjoy different types of flowers. While some may go for the petals, others will focus on the nectar. It is important to do your research to find out which kinds of flowers your local birds will like best.

Not only are flowers a good source of food for birds, but flowers also provide birds with shelter and sometimes even a place to build their nests.

If you are a garden owner, this can be a good and a bad thing depending on if you love your flowers or feathered visitors the most!

By including a variety of flowers in your garden, you can attract a wide variety of birds and make your outdoor space even more enjoyable. But you will also risk that certain bird species will eat your precious decorative flowering beauties.

So let’s get into some of the most common birds and see if they will eat your flowers or not! At the end of this post, I will give some advice on how to prevent birds from eating your flowers.

What Birds Eat Flower Petals?

Many birds will eat either whole flowers or just their petals. Some of the most common backyard birds that may eat the colorful petals of flowers in your yard are Goldfinches, Cardinals, Sparrows, Blue Jays, evening grosbeaks, and blackbirds.

However, most birds will prefer the seeds or leaves of the plants to the thin flower petals.

Sometimes it may look like they eat the flower parts whereas they are actually eating the insects, such as aphids, that inhabit the flower!

What Birds Eat Flower Nectar?

Many birds like orioles, Thrashers, sunbirds, bulbuls, and especially hummingbirds will eat nectar.

Birds eating nectar from flowers
Birds that eat nectar from flowers include hummingbirds, orioles, and sunbirds!

The nectar of flowers is a sweet liquid that these birds use for quick access to energy.

These birds use their long beaks to reach into the center of the flower to access the nectar. Flower nectar is also a good source of water, vitamins, and minerals for these birds as well.

Do Sparrows Eat Flowers?

Yes! Sparrows are omnivorous birds that will mostly eat smaller seeds, grains and insects. They often reside in the bushes and shrubs of backyards in the US. While they are particularly fond of smaller insects, they will nibble flower buds and petals on occasion.

Sparrows, such as the house sparrow shown here, will eat petals of softer flowers occasionally.

They will taste larger flowers such as sunflowers, roses and crocuses, but will mostly eat smaller flowers of weeds hidden in the lawn.

Sparrows are especially fond of:

  • Daisies (Common daisy)
  • Cornflowers
  • Crocus
  • Asters
  • Cherry
  • staghorn sumac flowers
  • Sunflower
  • Marigold
  • Coneflower
  • Safflower (mostly seeds)
  • Thistle

Do Finches Eat Flowers?

Finches are small songbirds with short beaks that can range in color. They are found all over the world, often near open woodlands, backyards, forest edges, and weedy fields.

They are primarily seed-eating birds with strong beaks for cracking open shells, but they will also eat insects and spiders. They are common in bird feeders throughout the UK and the US.

One of the most common species of finches in US backyards is the House Finch, which you can read more about in just about any of my posts on common backyard birds on this site!

House finch eating flower
A House Finch male eating a flower head.

While flowers are not the first food choice for most finch species, finches will often strip flower heads for their seeds, but they also eat nectar from flowers.

The nectar is a good source of energy for them, particularly during the breeding season when they need to feed their young.

Some of the flowers that finches visit are:

  • Teasel
  • Dandelion
  • Lilacs
  • Asters
  • Black-Eyed Susans
  • Bee Balm
  • Cosmos
  • Thistle
  • Conkers
  • Sunflower heads

Do Pigeons Eat Flowers?

Pigeons are found in cities all over the world and have become adapted to living near humans. They will eat just about anything, including seeds, fruits, vegetables, nuts, insects, and even other birds!

Pigeons are truly omnivorous birds that will eat flowers and flower buds!

Pigeons will also eat flowers on occasion. While they primarily go for the seeds of a flower, they will also eat the petals if there is nothing else available. Common backyard flowers that pigeons will eat are:

  • Dandelions
  • Clover
  • Violets
  • Pansies
  • Cherry
  • Marigolds

Do Robins Eat Flowers?

Robins are one of the most well-known birds in the world and are recognized by their bright red breasts. They are found in woods, gardens, and parks across Europe, Asia and North America.

Robins are mostly insectivorous birds, but they will also eat berries and fruits. In the winter months when insects are scarce, robins will often visit backyard bird feeders to supplement their diet.

Robins may eat flowers, but very rarely as they prefer the insects that live among the flowers instead!

While robins do not eat flowers as a primary food source, they will sometimes strip flower heads for their seeds or eat nectar from flowers on occasion.

Some of the flowers that robins might visit are:

  • Teasel
  • Dandelion
  • Lilacs
  • Asters
  • Black Eyed Susans
  • Bee Balm
  • Cosmos
  • Thistle

Do Crows Eat Flowers?

Yes, but rarely. Crows are large, black birds that are found in most parts of the world. They are intelligent birds that often live in flocks and make a lot of noise.

Crows are omnivorous and will eat just about anything, including fruits, vegetables, other bird’s eggs, small mammals and carrion. They will also eat insects, earthworms and grubs.

crow eating flowers in a tree
While crows will eat fruits and other plant material, they never really eat flowers, but they will look for insects in flowering plants!

While crows typically don’t eat flowers, they have been known to nibble on the petals of roses and other flowering plants but mainly to eat the insects residing on them!

Do Ravens Eat Flowers?

Yes, but not their favorite! Ravens are large, black birds that are found in the forests of North America, Europe, and Asia. They are known for their intelligence and their ability to solve complex problems. Ravens are also known to eat flowers on

While not all ravens will eat flowers, some individuals have been observed eating flowers or simply pinching them off and letting them fall off trees and bushes!

Ravens are a type of crow, but they sometimes play around with flowers although sometimes without eating them!

The reasons for this behavior are not fully understood, but it is thought that the ravens may be seeking out vitamins or other nutrients that they can’t find in their usual diet of insects, small mammals, and carrion.

Some of the flowers that ravens have been known to eat include:

  • Roses
  • Lilacs
  • Cherry blossoms
  • Dandelions
  • Clover

But as a mostly carnivorous bird, flowers make up only a minute fraction of a raven’s diet!

Do Cardinals Eat Flowers?

Cardinals are red birds that are common in the eastern United States. They are year-round residents and do not migrate.

In the summer when flowers bloom, cardinals will eat a variety of foods, including insects, fruits, berries, and seeds but also a few variants of flowering plants. Cardinals will also eat nectar from flowers.

A female Northern Cardinal eating cherry blossoms. Cardinals will also nipple the flowers of bushes and trees.

In the fall and winter, they also eat flower or tree buds. The nectar is a good source of energy for them, particularly during the breeding season when they need to feed their young.

Some of the flowers that cardinals visit are:

  • Teasel
  • Daisies
  • Sunflower
  • Dandelion
  • Lilacs
  • Asters
  • Black-Eyed Susans
  • Bee Balm
  • Cosmos
  • Thistles
  • Conkers

Do Ducks Eat Flowers?

Ducks are water birds that are found in both fresh and saltwater environments. While they mostly eat aquatic plants, they will also eat terrestrial plants. In fact, up to 50% of a duck’s diet can be composed of plant matter found on land!

Ducks will graze on land for food, eating a wide variety of grasses, sedges, and other plants. They also consume a lot of aquatic plants and algae-like water lilies, duckweed, and pondweed.

Ducks may eat flowers although they prefer aquatic plants.

And while ducks don’t necessarily eat flowers per se, they will often nibble on the petals and buds when grazing on land!

So if you have ducks in your backyard or nearby park, there’s a good chance they’ve eaten some of your flowers.

Some of the flowers that ducks may eat are:

  • Flowers of duckweed
  • Dandelions
  • Clover
  • Violets
  • Pansies
  • Daisy

Do Owls Eat Flowers?

No. Owls are strictly carnivorous birds and they will not eat plants or their flowers.

Owls are nocturnal predators that hunt small mammals, birds, and insects. They have large eyes and ears that help them locate their prey in the dark. Owls live in forests, deserts, and grasslands all over the world.

Owls are exclusive meat eaters!

While they do not typically eat flowers, they will on occasion consume them as part of their prey’s stomach content. But they do not like to do so!

Do Chickens and Hens Eat Flowers?

Yes! Chickens are omnivorous birds that eat a variety of things, including flowers. While they mostly eat seeds, insects, and other small animals, they will occasionally peck at flowers.

Chickens will eat just about anything but prefer grains and insects. Although they will eat whatever nontoxic vegetables and flowers.

Some chicken owners will sometimes collect flowering weeds in their yard and feed them to their hens and chickens. This will provide them with the extra nutrients and dietary fibers they need to produce healthy eggs.

Some of the flowers that chickens like to eat are:

  • Dandelions
  • Clover
  • Violets
  • Chickweed
  • Daisies
  • Cosmos

Chickens will also eat other backyard plants like berries, leaves, and grass.

Do Eagles Eat Flowers?

No! Eagles are large birds of prey with sharp talons and beaks. They are found in many parts of the world, often near open woodlands, lakes, forest edges, and weedy fields.

But like owls and other carnivorous birds, they will never feel the need to eat any plants or flowers.

While they mostly eat small mammals such as rabbits and rodents, they will also eat fish, reptiles, and birds. Occasionally, they have been known to scavenge on carrion (dead animals).

Do Geese Eat Flowers?

Geese are waterfowl that are found on every continent except for Antarctica. They come in a variety of sizes and colors, but all geese have webbed feet and long necks.

Geese are herbivorous birds that primarily eat grasses, aquatic plants, and berries. In the spring and summer months, they will also eat many types of flowers in the water and on land.

Geese will graze on small weeds and flowers.

They mostly eat the flowers of small weeds on the lawn and they will not fly up into trees or bushes to obtain flowers.

Some of the flowers that geese have been known to eat include:

  • Daisies
  • Clover
  • Chamomile
  • Thyme
  • Buttercup
  • Speedwell

However, geese will also eat any flowers are hidden in the grass that make up the bulk of their diet.

Do Magpies Eat Flowers?

The magpie is a medium-sized bird that is found in Europe, Asia and North America. It is black and white with a long tail. Magpies are known for their intelligence and their ability to mimic human speech.

Magpies are omnivorous birds that eat a variety of things, including insects, small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, fruits, berries, nuts and grains. They will also scavenge for carrion (dead animals).

Like crows, magpies do not really like to eat flowers as they prefer to eat insects and other animals.

While magpies typically don’t eat flowers, they have been known to taste them on them but perhaps just to eat the insects within.

Do Quail Eat Flowers?

Quails are small, plump birds that are usually brown or gray in color. They have short legs and can be found in many different habitats including woodlands, brushy areas, and even in backyards as wild or kept as pets.

Quails eat a variety of things including seeds, insects, berries, and leaves but they will also eat flowers on occasion.

quail eating rose
Quails will occasionally eat small weeds and flowers. They will also sometimes eat the pollen or insects within.

The flowers that quails eat depend on what is available and reachable to them at the time. They often prefer smaller flowers growing on the ground as quails do not easily fly.

 Some of the more common flowers that quails eat are:

  • Dandelions
  • Clover
  • Violets
  • Thistle
  • Buttercup
  • Speedwell

Do Pheasants Eat Flowers?

Pheasants are a type of game bird that is often hunted for sport. They are native to Asia, but have been introduced to other parts of the world, including North America.

Pheasants are omnivorous birds and will eat a variety of different things, including plants, insects, and small mammals.

Pheasant eating flower in garden
Pheasants are not super interested in flowers, but will eat just about anything – including flowers in your garden!

When it comes to flowers, pheasants will eat just about anything they can find. This includes both wildflowers of forests where they mostly live and the flowers that people grow in their yards.

Some of the more common flowers that pheasants eat include, but are not limited to:

  • Dandelions
  • Clover
  • Violets
  • Thistle
  • Buttercups
  • Daisy

Do Turkeys Eat Flowers?

Turkeys are large, domesticated birds that are typically raised for their meat. They are native to North America and are related to game birds such as grouse and pheasants.

Turkeys will eat just about anything but prefer seeds, fruits, flowers, and insects.

Turkeys will forage for weeds and flowers when nothing else is available.

While turkeys will eat just about any type of flower, they seem to prefer sunflowers, dandelions, and clover.

Do Parrots Eat Flowers?

Yes! Parrots are beautiful, brightly colored birds that are found in tropical and subtropical regions all over the world. They are known for their ability to mimic human speech and many people keep them as pets.

While most parrots eat a diet of seeds, nuts, fruit,s and vegetables, some species of parrots like rainbow lorikeets also enjoy eating flowers.

Lorikeet reaching out for a flower to eat!

The flowers that parrots eat are typically high in sugar content and provide the birds with a much-needed energy boost similar to what they get from eating fruits.

As primarily herbivorous birds that eat many types of plants, flowers and flower buds are on the diet list of many parrot species. However, while flowers are not the most common food choice for parrots, there are particular flowers that parrots will commonly eat.

Some of the most common flowers that parrots eat are:

  • Hibiscus
  • Ixora
  • Allamanda
  • Bougainvillea
  • Lantana

But the flowers that a parrot might eat really depend on the species, size and location of that particular parrot!

Do Toucans Eat Flowers?

Toucans are tropical birds that are native to the rain forests of Central and South America. They have brightly colored plumage and a large bill.

Their diet consists mostly of fruit, but they will also eat insects, frogs, lizards, and small birds.

Toucans will eat flowers and fruits as part of their exotic diet.

Toucans will eat flowers on occasion when they are looking for nectar or pollen. Some of the flowers that toucans have been known to eat include:

  • Passionflower
  • Canna flower
  • Banana flower
  • Ginger
  • Bird-of-paradise flowers
  • Hibiscus

What Other Birds Eat Hibiscus Flowers?

Some birds eat hibiscus flowers as a source of nectar. Other birds may peck at the flowers to extract the pollen.

Hummingbirds such as Anna’s hummingbird will readily such the nectar from hibiscus flowers. But orioles and some parrots will eat their nectar and petals as well.

How to prevent birds from eating your flowers?

There are a few things you can do to stop birds from eating your flowers. One is to put up a net around your garden.

This will keep the birds out and allow your flowers to thrive. Another option is to use bird-repellent sprays on your plants. These sprays will make the plants taste bad to the birds and they will stay away.

You can also try using scarecrows or wind chimes in your garden. The movement and noise will scare the birds away and keep them from eating your flowers.

Here are some of my favorite methods and products to keep birds out of your flower garden:

1. Ultrasonic Animal Repellent devices

My favorite method for keeping unwanted animals away from my flower garden is using these very subtle non-invasive ultrasonic devices that run on solar power so you never have to change a battery again (your flowers are after all only blooming when the sun is out, right?).

These devices use high-frequency sound waves to deter animals from entering an area. They are safe for humans and pets, and can be used to keep birds out of your flower garden.

A 360 Ultrasonic repeller that emits in all directions.

The Bird-X – BXP-PRO2 is designed specifically to scare away birds and is the most effective option available.

This Phosooy Ultrasonic Repeller is the cheapest option.

For example, the Phosooy Ultrasonic Animal Repellers are humane and effective in the way they keep birds and other animals (such as gophers and groundhogs!) away from your yard. They come with adjustable sensitivity and mode, and a solar panel for power supply, which gives you 2 ways of powering it.

2. Fake Owl Scarecrows

Owls are natural predators of birds, so placing a fake owl scarecrow in your garden can help to keep them away. Make sure to move the owl around occasionally, so the birds don’t catch on that it’s not real!

3. Shiny Moving Objects

Contrary to what people might say about Magpies and other birds are not really attracted to shiny objects but are actually scared of them.

Birds are scared of shiny objects, so hanging some tin foil or other shiny objects in your garden can help keep them away.

Scare owl with lights!

Solar-powered motion-activated scare owl!

Scary reflective birds and objects.

You can also try stringing up some streamers or wind chimes for a similar effect.

4. Netting to keep birds out

A physical barrier like netting over your most precious flowers is perhaps the most effective way to keep birds out of your garden.

Shaped netting.

There many are different types of netting designed to keep birds out.

Netting bags.

Make sure the netting is secured tightly around the perimeter of your garden so that there are no gaps for the birds to get through.

5. Repellant mixtures

You can also make your own bird repellent mixture using ingredients like chili peppers, garlic, and soap flakes dissolved in water.

This mixture can be sprayed around the perimeter of your flower garden to deter birds from entering and directly on flowers to prevent them from being eaten!

Conclusion

Birds will eat flowers to different degrees depending on the general type of diet. The birds that live on land and mostly eat plants will usually also eat flowers. But those birds that are omnivores will also eat flowers to some extent.

But oftentimes damage to flowers also occurs due to collateral damage caused by the birds eating the insects feeding on your flowers – which is actually a good thing!

However, birds that actually eat flowers can be a real nuisance. But there are a few things you can do to get rid of them. First, try to keep your flowers covered or enclosed so the birds can’t get to them. You can also try using ultrasonic emitters or scarecrows flower beds.

Other animals like flower-hungry groundhogs and gophers might also have eaten your flowers, and you can read my favorite methods to keep them away here.